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A Curious Definition of Job Security

7 Apr 2017 Karina S. Henkel

What is job security? And what does it mean in America?

The past two years have been rough for the company I am working for. We call it a startup company. But I looked up the definition for a startup company and must say that we don’t fit into this category, at all. Yes, my company aims to meet a marketplace need by developing an innovative product. But it is not a fast-growing business designed to rapidly develop a scalable business model.

When it started in 2009, it was surely meant to be like that, but since then we have not grown at all and still depend on grants and private investors because developing our product takes much, much, much, much longer than anticipated.

There was no job security in this company-even by American standards. In the US, most work is an at-will agreement, meaning that both the employer and employee can end the working relationship any time without any reason. But that usually doesn’t happen very often. Most people I know stay in their jobs for a very long time. Companies are usually interested in developing stable relationships with their employees, despite the at-will clause.

But as far as my colleagues and I are concerned, every month there was the chance that we had to shut down. But whenever we were close to shutting down the business, something happened and we got money that kept us alive for another couple of months.

We lived from month to month, from payroll to payroll. There was no job security, at all. But I must say that I didn’t feel that way. Yes, there was the money issue, but because of the nature of the working atmosphere, it felt to me like a very safe and stable working environment.

Isn’t it funny that I always felt very safe with my job even though there was actually no job security?

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